'Unscientific': AIIMS epidemiologist assails decision to vaccinate teens


NEW DELHI: A senior epidemiologist from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Sunday termed the government decision of vaccinating teenagers “unscientific”.

Dr Sanjay K. Rai, who is also the principal investigator of Covaxin trials for adults and children at the AIIMS, in a tweet, said: “I am a great fan of PM Modi for his selfless service to the nation and taking right decisions at right time. But I am completely disappointed with his unscientific decision on children vaccination”.

Before executing the plan, data from other countries on children vaccination should be analysed, said Dr Rai who is also also the President of the Indian Public Health Association.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation on Saturday announced the vaccination for children aged between 15 to 18 will start from January 3. He also announced “precautionary” doses for frontline and healthcare workers.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad-based vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech’s Covid vaccine Covaxin on Saturday got approval from the Drug Controller General of India for emergency use for children aged between 12-18 years amid growing concern for new Covid variant Omicron.

The committee had noted that the interim safety data of the Phase 2/3 clinical trials was reviewed in a meeting on August 26. After detailed deliberation, the committee had recommended the grant of authorisation of the vaccine for the 12 to 18 years age group for restricted use in emergency situations subject to certain conditions.

Earlier, Zydus Cadila’s three-dose DNA vaccine was allowed to be used on adults and children over the age of 12.